Music as a way to fight back prejudice against homosexuality

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Many artists these days use words such as “gay, fag, faggot, and homo” in their music to refer to people they don’t like by emasculating them. In this example, these words are rarely used to refer directly to homosexuals but usually to people they think less of. Macklemore points out the problems with this later in the verse.

He is saying that “faggot” is such a powerful hateful word. However, people in the rap game use this word like it doesn’t matter, thus encouraging the climate of homophobia that they claim to deny

Refer to this webpage to read about some artists that sang homophobic songs.  Some of them are not against homosexuals, but they use homophobic slurs in their songs.  Why?

Watch the video and be prepared to express your opinions.  Would you listen to Eminem’s song?  Why (not)?

If you were asked to think of a Gay Anthem, what song would you choose?  Why?

Why do you think there are songs that are considered to be gay anthems?

Listen to the following.  Why is it one of the most well-known gay anthems in your opinion?

Diana Ross’s “I’m coming out” has been identified an unofficial gay-pride anthem.

I’m coming out by Diana Ross

A gay anthem is a song that has become widely popular among, or has become identified with, the gay community, as referring to homosexual men, but some of these songs may also become anthems for the rest of the LGBT community.

The lyrics of gay anthems are often marked with hope against the odds, pride, unity, or defiance

Although every song is individual, the criteria for what makes a gay anthem has shown a trend among the years. In the book Queer, the following ten main themes were listed that are common among many, if not all gay anthems:

Overcoming hardship in love

You are not alone

Throw your cares away

Hard-won self-esteem

Celebrating unashamed sexuality

Search for acceptance

Songs about a welcoming promised land where the dream of acceptance and belonging and hope lives.

Tales of not giving up on love despite seemingly insurmountable odds.


You may find this webpage interesting

What about “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera?

“Beautiful” has been widely embraced as an anthem by the LGBT community for its message of self-empowerment and inner beauty. An accompanying music video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund, and earned Aguilera a GLAAD Media Award for its positive portrayal of gay and transgender people. In 2011, UK LGBT rights organization Stonewall named “Beautiful” the most empowering song of the previous decade for gay, lesbian, and bisexual people.

Beautiful by Christina Aguilera

“Why?” is a single from the British synthpop trio Bronski Beat and appeared on their 1984 album The Age of Consent today considered a popular gay anthem.  The song  lyrics focus on anti-gay prejudice.

Another of their songs, “Smalltown Boy” (1984), is a popular gay anthem.

The song addresses key issues in 1980s LGBT culture. It addresses family rejection for being homosexual and homophobia in British society. It also deals with loneliness and bullying through societal and familial rejection.

An official music video was shot and released later in 1984. The narrative video features band member Jimmy Somerville as the boy who has experienced the issues described in the lyrics. Seen on a train, he is contemplating his childhood through flashbacks and the events that have caused him to leave his parents’ home.  At a swimming pool, his friends (played by band members Larry Steinbachek and Steve Bronski) dare him to approach a young man that he is attracted to, for which he is later attacked in an alley by a homophobic gang led by the man he approached at the swimming pool. A police officer brings him back to his home. It is implied that the boy’s parents learn of his homosexuality for the first time through this incident and are shocked, but only the father seems unsupportive. The boy then catches a train to London, on which he is reunited with his friends.

Bronski Beat

What is a gay icon?  Do you know of any?


What role does music paly in your life?  Have you ever listened to a song (understanding the lyrics) that made you think of an issue you had not considered deeply before?  Do you think music can be an effective way of spreading words of wisdom, peace, equality, understadning, etc.? Why (not)?  Can you think of any song that achieves this?  If you were asked to choose a song that reflects your view of the world, the kind of person you are or your would love to be, what would that song be? Why?




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12 Responses to Music as a way to fight back prejudice against homosexuality

  1. Sara Marini says:

    Music is very important in my life. It is an habit for me listen to music almost always and everywhere: walking to school, making dinner or doing homeworks.
    Someday music is a distraction, an easy way to relax myself and to stop thinking. But in other occasions it is a way to make reflctions. In the first case I just listen to the tune or the melody, but in the second case I really pay attention to the lyrics and the words that the artists use to express a feeling or an issue.
    Some lyrics are very touching and moving and they can relate to different issues, like love,freedom,peace,frienship… I think music can be an aid to fight against prejudices,war, discrimination, but of course it is not the first way to solve a probolem; it is a secondary support.
    For example, in order to aware people to fight against homophobia, lyrics such as “Same Love” are very helpful but they need a “ground” to work, or they would be unuseful.
    Some other songs that are helpful in my opinion are made by John Lennon (pro peace like “Give peace a chance” or “Imagine”), or “wind of change” by Scrorpions, or even “Born this way” by Lady Gaga. They all try to express the importance of freedom, peace, love and equality.
    I’ve never found a song that made me think about issue that i’ve never thought before, but there are some songs that really astonished me, for example “La canzone del bambino nel vento” by Guccini (Because I had never listened to a song about Auschwitz).
    The song that reflect my view of the world and the person that i would love to be is “It’s my life” by Jon Bon Jovi, because the lyrics talk about freedom of doing what we think is right to do, and not what others impose you. It is like a cry to enjoy take advantage of life. And when I listen to it, it always makes me the desire to do something big.

  2. Giulia Girardi says:

    Whenever I am sad or stressed or I do not want to listen to anybody, I put the hands-free set on my mobile phone and I estrange myself from the reality which is around me, in order to find another world, a place in which I can feel myself well and comfortable. It is a beautiful sensation: music conveys me a shiver and lots of emotions at the same time, the melody of a song that I listen to makes me feel self-confident, happy it fills my heart with tenderness, with love, but even with pain, sorrow and hatred. Lots of different sensations , but all mixed together: this is the magic power of music for me. But unfortunately I do not have so much time to listen to music, even because I am not able to do it when I do my homework or when I study: I need concentration and therefore there must be silence around me. This is the reason why I do not know many songs, but one that is very powerful inn meaning for me is “I was here”, sung by Beyoncè, because with this song the singer raised the issue of poverty, of difficulties in the submitted countries of the world, especially in Africa. When she sings I can perceive her will to do something, her desire to change things, her anger but even her great willpower. This is the reason why I prefer songs which have a meaning in addition to a pleasant melody because for me a song can change somebody’s life: think about Vasco Rossi’s one entitled “Siamo soli”; the first time I listened to it and I concentrated to the text, I was shocked, it created difficulties for me, really. Another song that I like is “I am” of Christina Aguilera: whenever I listen to it, I immediately identify with her because she says the words I would sing, she describes herself, but the adjectives she uses are the same I would choose for me. It is striking! Christina Aguilera points out every defect of herself, but even her qualities, it is as if she had analyzed her conscience. She is one of the best singers of the world.

  3. Noemi says:

    Music plays an important role in my life, I listen to it when I am sad, angry, bored, happy or when I am with my friends. I do not listen to just one kind of it, because I think there is a song for any occasion: I usually listen to a song thet mirrors my feelings and makes me feel understood and sometimes less lonely. Many songs are important even for the messages that raise.There are many about love, for example “Take my breath away” by Berlin, “Always” by Bon Jovi, “I need your love” by Ellie Gulding, “A te” by Jovanotti ecc., or about freedom, like “It’s my life” by Bon Jovi or “Young, wilde and free” by Snoop dogg and Wiz Khalifa… a theme that I propaply never thaught about was that of suicide that I’ve found on “How to save a life” by The Fray that made me think and the song “So far away” by Avenged Sevenfold was an eyeopener for me on the fact of losing someone you love so mutch that you wish you died too to stay near him/her.
    I can not identify me with only a song, because it depends on how I feel in a particular moment.

  4. Lara De Piero says:

    Music plays a very important role in my life because there is a song for every situation which gives me the energy to go on, to do something better, to reflect upon my situation and so on; such an example, when I do sport I use to listen to music that marks the rhythm, even to commercial music like “Can’t hold us” by Macklemore or “Wake me up” by Avicii, while when I want to relax I listen to calm music such as “Le onde” by Einaudi, but when I miss a person I use to listen to “Wish U were here” by Pink Floyd. A thing I consider extremely important is the lyrics: in fact the majority of us let himself/herself be carried away by the sound, not paying attention to the words. Sometimes it happens even to me, but I think it happens to everybody: in other words, the rhythm of a song is the first thing which capture our attention, especially if it is the first time we hear that song and even more if we don’t know the language. So it is difficult to understand the deep meaning of the song and we let us carry away by the rhythm; but every time I listen for the first time to a song I have never heard before, I look for the lyrics on the net and I try to comprehend the meaning. Furthermore songs are very important even for the issues they raise; to this end I want to talk about a song that made me reflect upon some facts that happened in 2009 in Belgium: this song is “Quando mi vieni a prendere?” by Ligabue and it tells, through the eyes of a child, the tragic event that occurred in Dendermorde when a twenty-year-old boy went into a nursery school and stabbed the teacher and two children and injured other twelve oh them. Listening to this song I realized that we can’t know what will happen in a little while, we could even die or it could occur something that will change our life for ever, and so now I see things from a different perspective, namely I try live every moment as if it was the last one. Therefore I think music is an effective way of spreading words of wisdom, peace, equality, etc., as we can see in “Imagine” by John Lennon which exalts a no materialistic society and which is oft seen as a peace hymn. There are even songs that raise awareness against violence towards women and one of these song is “Break the chain” by Tena Clark and Tim Heintz, the official hymn of “One billion rising” (I think the words of this song are very powerful: “no more rape or incest or abuse, women are not a possession” , “it’s time to break the chain”and “this is my body, my body’s more excuses, no more abuses..we are mothers, we are teachers, we are beautiful creatures!”). A song which reflects my view of the world and the person I am is “Voglio volere” by Ligabue because it talks about a world where everything is possible and I really share the statement “voglio un mondo all’altezza dei sogni che ho” since it is something that miss in our world.

  5. Corsunov says:

    I think that music play an important role in our lives. It reppresents a constant company for us,it is like a friend. When you feel blue the music helps you, when you listen to it you can stop thinking about your problems, but even when you are happy the music seems to be magic! You can always rely on it, music would never abandon you. It helps you to do things that you do not like, like cleaning the house or something like that..Music has the ability to change your mood when you are sad, or even motivate you to do something, teach you something and maybe change your views and opinions. An example of a powerfull song is “Same Love” by Macklemore. I cannot finf a song that reppresents me completely, there are so many songs that I like and in everyone there are important meanings but I do not have the one that i really love, I have to think about iut; to find it and when I will finf one I will tell you and expalin why. An other thing that i woul like to say is that I am very disappointed with popular music of nowadays, there are the same songs without a meaning on the radio or mtv the whole day, everyday. They are so shallow and stupid and even the rythm “sucks”, I could listen to them if the rythm was nice, they are so similar and it seems that you listen the same song the whole day! They are commercial, the musicians produce them just for money and not beacause they are inspired! It is so difficult nowadays to find a good song!!

  6. Xheni Mullahi 5^H says:

    I think I can not live without music, I mean, music reflects my ideas, and sometimes says what I have not the courage to say to someone or to my self. There are different kind of music for examples there are some songs that you liked only for the rhythm and remainds you the crazy Saturday nights with your friends, they are called “songs of the moment”. Then there are the everlasting songs like all the albums of the rock icons (Metallica, AC/DC, Queen etc..),Pop icons (Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper..etc). There is a cathegory of songs that denounce society or and explicit issue like “Where is the love”- Black Eyed Pease that deals with the problem of lack of love in our society and the promting of wars by governments. There are some songs that spread peace messages( “We are the world” written by Michael Jackson). The song that form me reflects the view of the world is the Italian song “Meraviglioso” by Negramaro.

  7. Sara Grande 5H says:

    For me music is very important and play a big a role in my life, but I think even in the lives of all young people that nowdays cannot live without music. I love it because it fills my life… Music and Dance are my passions. Usually when I listen to a song I pay attention to the lyrics because that is very important, in fact it makes your mood change: if the song has a strong lyrics you reflect upon this, if not you just have fun. Fror this reason music is very powerful because you can use it to spread your ideas or to envolve the world to do somenthing special or just reflect, using words of peace, equality, understanding. There are many songs that do this for example “Heal the world”, “What more can I give” (Michael Jackson), “The prayer”(Céline Dion, Andrea Bocelli). I think music should profess love and use words of love to speak to our heart because we do not need violence anymore.
    If I were to choose a song that reflect that reflects my view of the world, the kind of perrson I am maybe it would be “The show must go on”, because it tells you to go on with your smile even if it’s hard and sometimes you are falling apart.

  8. Alessia B. 5^H says:

    Music plays an important role and is always present in my life: from the very moment I wake up, I start listening to music (while showering, having breakfast, doing my make up..) and then I put my earphones on and I listen to it when I’m in the bus or driving to school… Music is always with me and has become a sort of addiction: if I forget my mp3 player at home, I feel lost and I know it is going to be a bad day because I don’t have music there with me, helping me to “tune in” and set myself into a good mood.
    I mainly listen to rock music but lately I have also started listening to different genres and I discovered some new artists I like, as Macklemore, who I got to know through the song “Wings”, which talks about consumerism and the way the brands control us and make us think they are selling us dreams. Then I also liked the song “Same love”, which is about homophobia and equality and relates to the issues we are analyzing in class. I think music is a better way of spreading a message since, when listening to a song, you are at first carried away by the melody and everyone listens to it because of that. Then, as soon as the song becomes popular, it is broadcasted everywhere and, the more you listen to it, the more you start becoming familiar to it and paying attention to other things, such as the lyrics, which may make you reflect about issues you had never really considered before. There are many beautiful songs (ex. “Imagine” or “Working class hero” by John Lennon) that achieved this and changed people’s lives.
    If I hd to choose a song that changed my life, I would probably choose one of the Pink Floyd’s songs, since they are all beautiful, meaningful and somehow helped me in my life.

  9. Mattias Gerometta says:

    Music is something I can’t renounce to. I play guitar and bass guitar and I listen to all the music I can find; I like all genres of music and I’m always looking for something new.
    Music is something natural, a basic instinct for all human being:it’s a rumour that make you fell strange,it can change or upgrade your feeling and it can transport you to the best hidden places of your mind, where you are totally free and your thoughts are unlimited. Of course music is a very effective media, because each song contain an emotion that the author wants to transmit. Lots of song contain a message, a critic, an issue that the author wants to spread, and these songs are mainly written by songwriters. Some of these song raised my attention to themes I didn’t know very well(discrimination, racism in the USA, the war in Vietnam,Darfur…), thanks to artists like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Lennon, Fabrizio De Andrè, Rage Against The Machine, Mattafix. Through a song you can easily spread a message, because the almost whole world can listen to that song and you can organise a concert all over the world in front different people.
    I would write loads of song like these, but my favourite are “Hurricane”,”Like a Rolling Stone” and “Blowing in The Wind” by Bob Dylan, “My My Hey Hey” by Neil Young, “Via del Campo” By De Andrè and “Living Darfur” by Mattafix.
    It’s hard to find a song that identifies me, because I should choose it at the end of my life, when I will be able to say if my life will have been what I wanted. Maybe now tw songs can be “Killing In The Name” by Rage Against The Machine and “I’m Alive” by Pearl Jam, because they are about defend your ideas and projects and says you never give up.

  10. Lisa says:

    I must admite that music is not the centre of my life, but it is even true that my connection with music is not always the same. For example when I am sad or I want to relax myself I immediately find in it the solace. I have listened commercial and pop music for years; I thought that rap or other tipes of music were not my genre…only recently, by chance, I discover some songs written by musicians who were unknown for me and I found them beautiful and deep like I have ever thought.
    I think that music is the key that opens everything, because it is not only a form of art, for me it is another way of composing poetry. In fact through poetry you can express whatever you want and the most important thing is that you can be yourself, for these reason music is foundamental to revelate feelings.
    I am not an expert inthis sector but I know that there are alot of really deep songs based on critical themes. Two songs that I adore are “Think” by Fabrizio Moro and the one of Povia, which was presented years ago at the “Festival of Sanremo” and speaks about the death of Eluana Englaro.
    My “ideal” song is “Just the way you are” by Bruno Mars…when it starts you can think that it isthe same superficial song, but if you listen carefully the words, you immediately change idea; because even in this cadìse it is dedicated to a woman, it can be extended to other people(maybe in difficult situations bcause of their choices).
    Lisa C.

  11. Annagiulia Nadin says:

    Music is one of the aspects in life I like the most and one of the things that have the power to isolate me and make me happy and free. While I am listening to music I feel a beautiful sensation, as if I were in another world without any problem, anxiety or worry; I feel I can express the best of me, I can reveal the real me. This occurs not only at the disco, but even every day when I sit on the bus with my mp3 in the hands. So music is part of my life and I do not need a special place or atmosphere to let music transport me. Unfortunately I use to listen to music “passively”, without paying attention to the lyrics of the songs. Rare times I try to concentrate on what the singer says and on the deep message of the song: it is not easy (not even with the Italian lyrics)! When I succeed everything gets another sense and I am thrown into the song itself, becoming able to know new sides of the same reality, having the possibility to discover and analyze things that I have never thought of before.
    For example when I had the occasion to listen to “La Guerra di Piero” by Fabrizio De Andrè, I really understood how war changes men, their life and their soul. It forces them to fight one another without any alternative choice than killing the man in front of them. What is the difference between one man and another? What characterizes an ally from an enemy? At war just a different uniform. And this happens also with Piero, a soldier who must hold the rifle and shoot at the other man, because he has a different uniform and so he is an enemy. But Piero is always a human being just like the other one and even if he sees only violence and death around him, his heart still palpitate. For the first time he does not want to obey the orders of war: he is not a soldier, he is just a man, free to do what he wants, not to do what war imposes. Unfortunately the other individual is not so brave and rebel and does what he has to do. So war takes its revenge and death continues to win… How many things we can learn about existence from music, perhaps even better than from TV or newspapers! And this song is the proof.
    Usually we are much more attracted by what creates an auditory rhythm than a source of toneless sound (a speech in a documentary for example) or a space with only written words. There are millions of lyrics that are full of meaning and with a strong message; by listening to them, we can discover a real “rhythmic encyclopedia”. Peace, love, equality, wisdom are just some of the themes we can find in songs. But the most important thing is that we have the opportunity to look at these elements through different eyes and reflect about them from a new perception.
    “What a wonderful world” by Louis Armstrong reminds us how beautiful and special is our world in its simplicity (the trees, the rainbow…) and in the little things of every day like the crying of babies or the handshake between friends. “Imagine” by John Lennon makes us full of hope, hope to create one day a limitless and borderless world without constrictions and oppression, where all men are together and in peace. Then “Pensa” by Fabrizio Moro, an Italian song not very well-known but really powerful, which invites us to reflect about violence (and in particular about “mafia”) and about the fact that we can change things if we want, we can decide: everything is possible, also justice.
    Finally I would mention “Feel” by Robbie Williams. It does not communicate a particular message like the songs I have just quoted, but it has an important meaning for me (even more than the others), because I can experience in my individuality what the singer describes: I’ am living the same state of confusion and doubt about what role I play in this life. What is the meaning of my existence? Why am I here? What does the future set aside for me? I do not Know. The only thing I want is just to live completely the position I am expected to occupy and like the author of this song I want to love, to feel, because I cannot leave empty the seat I received.

  12. cristianaziraldo says:

    Title: What music means to me

    First of all I want to clarify the huge importance music covers in people’s life. In my dreary days it plays an important and fundamental role: when I am angry with my parents, sad, happy, confused or just tired and I do not want to speak, I usually seek refuge in my room with the headphones, or I go for a walk beside my house with my dog and my music.
    Perhaps music is so important for me because personally I am a bit of a solitary girl, very introvert, I do not like speaking about what happens in my life and in my family, I prefer thinking and thinking to find solutions by myself, and music helps me a lot in doing this.
    I do not have a favourite type of music, unlike other people, I listen to everything, except for metal, a kind of music which makes me become nervous and which I just cannot stand.
    I like rock, pop, rap, minimal, house, dance, and I really appreciate classical music because I used to do ballet. For this reason I am open to all kinds of music: now, for example, I am experiencing Portuguese music, which reflects my emotions in this period. It gives me peace of mind and it makes me screen into another reality characterised by smoothness and relax, which, in this period, thinking at the exams, I really desire!
    If I was asked to choose one song that would describe myself, it would for sure be “One” by the U2. I am not saying it is my favourite song but it is the one which reflects my emotions and thoughts, it is the closest to my way of being.

    Del Pup Elisa 5H

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